Oct 08, 2023

9 Best Lubes for Anal Sex To Try in 2023

When it comes to anal sex, lube is as essential to success as, well, having a butt—which is to say, very essential. To be clear: You need to be using lube for any kind of anal play, whether a finger, phallus, or anal sex toy is involved. (As a sex educator, I feel the need to shout this from the rooftops.) But, as you may know if you've purchased any personal lubricant in the past, not all lubes are created equally—and choosing one of the best lubes for anal sex can take your butt play from good to fully orgasmic.

Unlike the vaginal canal, which can typically self-lubricate (at least to an extent), the anal canal doesn't have this capacity. That means there is no body-made wetness that can help temper the friction of skin-to-skin or silicone-to-skin contact during anal sex.


Adding a store-bought personal lubricant helps minimize that unwanted friction so that the sensation of something sliding into (or around) your anal opening can feel pleasurable as opposed to painful, says anal sex educator Alex Hall, founder of The Bottom's Digest, a resource for anal sex-friendly recipes and lifestyle tips.

“You can think about your anal canal like a slip-and-slide,” says Hall. “If the 'slide' doesn't have any lubricant, you're not going to get too far, and the friction is going to tear up your skin,” he says. But the minute you lube up the slide, it's much easier to slide down the path without injury to any player involved, he says.

“You can think about your anal canal like a slip-and-slide. If the 'slide' doesn't have any lubricant, you're not going to get too far, and the friction is going to tear up your skin.” —Alex Hall, anal sex educator

While douching is not a prerequisite for penetrative anal sex, using store-bought lubricant is *especially* important for those who do choose to douche beforehand, given that “douching can be especially drying to the delicate anal skin,” says anal surgeon Evan Goldstein, DO, founder of sexual-health practice Bespoke Surgical and sex-care brand Future Method. And a dry butt is no match for pleasurable anal play.

Lube is also a must for those with hemorrhoids or skin tags, which are producing nodules of different kinds that add additional surface area inside the anal canal, and therefore increase the experience of friction or pressure during anal sex, adds Dr. Goldstein.

Failure to use lube doesn’t just raise your risk of discomfort during sex; it also increases your risk for anal injuries like fissures (aka small tears in the anal lining) and hemorrhoids, and for developing a pH imbalance that could disrupt your anal microbiome or contracting a sexually transmitted infection, says Dr. Goldstein. That's because anal sex sans lube can cause micro-abrasions on delicate anal skin, which give infectious agents easier entry points to the bloodstream, he explains. In short, using lube is one part of having safer anal sex.

It would be irresponsible not to note that lube, on its own, will not make for pleasurable, pain-free anal play. Good anal sex also requires starting small, communicating often, and moving slowly, says Dr. Goldstein. “You can use all the lube in the world, but if your anal opening doesn’t yet know how to relax, or you're being penetrated by something that is too big for your current abilities, that lube isn’t going to do much,” he says.

If you're planning to have penetrative anal sex for the first time, you'll want to first do some anal training in order to quite literally train the anal sphincter muscles to relax enough to accept a finger, toy, or penis. In their natural state, those muscles are wired to stay clenched shut (so we don't crap our pants). But that can make it tough to soften them on demand—which is where the training comes into play. Using an anal dilator (aka a dildo-shaped medical device) can help you learn to manually relax those butt muscles while also gently stretching the anal skin.

Once your butt is prepped for play, adding lube is what can really make anal sex absolutely mind-blowing, says Hall. Below, you'll find everything you need to know about scouting the best lubes for all types of anal sex (whether you're into oral-anal or pegging or good ol' fashioned P-in-A), including what to look for, what to avoid, how to best use lube for anal, and our top nine picks.

For the seat-minded slippery stuff, simple is best. “Generally speaking, the fewer ingredients an anal lubricant has, the better,” says Hall. That’s because more ingredients simply makes it more likely that the lube contains chemicals, alcohols, or additives that can irritate the oh-so-delicate anal tissues, he says.

You can choose a water-based, oil-based, or silicone-based lube for anal sex (more on the different types below). And in the case of each one, you would look out for different items on the ingredients list: Water-based options will have some combination of humectants (aka substances that can hold water and increase slip) like sodium hyaluronate and propylene glycol; oil-based types will feature oils like coconut, sunflower seed, or sweet almond; and silicone-based options will list skin-safe silicones like dimethicone, dimethiconol, and cyclopentasiloxane

“The number-one ingredient to steer clear from in an anal lubricant is any kind of numbing agent, like benzocaine,” says Hall. Though numbing lubes can help desensitize the vagina to penetration, in the context of anal sex, they could block sensations that are important to notice. “You never want to feel numb in your anal region because pain and discomfort are the body's signs that something isn't right and should be changed up,” says Hall. Dumbing down your ability to identify that pain is a recipe for disaster (read: anal damage).

Another ingredient you also want to skip out on is menthol, says Hall. Common in lubricants that claim to create a pleasurable tingly sensation, “menthol is just going to make your rectum feel like you stuck a Hot Cheeto up there,” says Hall. Hard pass.

Any type of added fragrance is also “a big no-no for anal lubricants because it may cause irritation,” says sexpert Timothy Ferencz, regional manager for personal lubricant manufacturer JO. You also want to avoid lubricants with sugars in them, he says. “No sugar makes it less likely that you'll disrupt the anal pH, which also lowers your chances of getting a yeast infection.” (Yes, anal yeast infections are a thing).

Good news: There really is no wrong way to use anal lube, so don’t stress about your approach. Stress, after all, is a huge disruptor of desire. Still, if you’re looking for some help, we got your back (er, hiney).

“Applying a generous amount of lube to your finger and gently inserting it into the anus will both lubricate the canal and help you relax your anal muscles.” —Timothy Ferencz, regional manager for lube manufacturer JO

If you can, you want to get lubricant inside the anal canal, says Ferencz. “Applying a generous amount of lube to your finger and gently inserting it into the anus will both lubricate the canal and help you relax your anal muscles,” he says. Alternatively, you can use a lube shooter, which allows you to, well, shoot lube into your bum, much like a tampon dispenser allows you to insert a tampon into your vaginal canal.

From there, “apply a liberal amount of lubricant to either the toy or the body part that you’re planning to receive,” says Ferencz. That’s right, before you even start playing you want to apply the lube, he says. “Don’t wait until it’s uncomfortable or when you are in the middle of playing to pause and apply for the first time,” he says. And of course, don’t be shy about reapplying if need be, he says. (Note: The body can absorb water, so you’ll need to reapply water-based lubricants in particular.)

Silky and slick, Überlube is a silicone-based lubricant that comes highly recommended by Hall. “Silicone lube doesn’t get soaked up by your body as easily and lasts much longer [than water-based lube], making it perfect for anal play,” he says. “Überlube is super silky to the touch, and after years of experimenting with different silicone lubes, I can say there truly is nothing like this one when it comes to anal play.”

Good news for marathon bangers: The body does not absorb silicone-based lubricant the way it does water-based options, so you won’t have to pause to reapply this lube while you play as often as you otherwise might need to. Much like a friend who invites themselves to sleep on your couch while in town, this slippery stuff stays and stays and stays.

Oh, and the best part is that the formula is infused with vitamin E, which has anti-inflammatory and moisturizing properties, says Hall. This addition can help your anal canal heal itself from any abrasions or tender spots that may have popped up during play. In other words, while this lube wins the gold for best anal lubricant overall, it also podiums for best anal lube for sensitive skin.

Type: Silicone Ingredients: dimethicone, dimethiconal, cyclomethicone, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E) Size: 50 ml



Is anal fingering one of your fave sex acts? Do you have a stainless steel or glass butt plug you go bonkers for? Is P-in-A in the deck of cards for the day? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should opt for a silicone-based solution like this one from the lubricant masterminds at Sliquid.

Silver Lube sports a water-resistant formula that allows your canal, cock, and anal accouterments to keep going and going. The best part is that it is silicone-based, so it will likely last as long as your sex session, says Hall.

Type: Silicone Ingredients: cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, dimethiconol Size: 2 oz



“Thicker than a snicker” isn’t just a rap-tastic praise for a juicy rear; it’s also a description for Cake’s Tush Cush lubricant. A hybrid formula that is part-water, part-silicone, this anal-made lubricant gel has a jelly-like consistency. Actually, the formula feels like it’s basically cushioning your anal canal against the raw feeling of skin-on-skin contact.

Note: The product may be literally called Tush Cush, but given that it’s free from glycerin and other irritants, it’s also totally safe to use vaginally. Just remember that you should never ever go from back to front with your penetration. If you want to enjoy vaginal play after anal penetration, swap condoms (or clean your toy), or take a quick shower with your sex partner first.

Type: Hybrid Ingredients: propylene glycol, water, phenoxyethanol, dimethicone, cellulose gum, cyclopentasiloxane, sodium polyacrylate, trideceth-6, PEG/PPG- 18/18 dimethicone Size: 3.3 oz



Coconu has a cult-like following among pleasure-seekers who like to use coconut oil as lube. And that’s for good reason: The products are all pleasant in scent… and far tastier than other lube options on the market. Coconu’s Oil-Based Organic Lubricant is a great option for barrier-free anal play, as it is long-lasting and helps any phallus or toy slide seamlessly in and out of the canal.

Just remember: Oil degrades latex, says Hall. Therefore, this—and any other oil-based option— shouldn’t be used with latex barriers like condoms, internal condoms, or dental dams. “Because of that, you might prefer to save oil-based lubes [like this one] for solo play, fingers, and ABS-plastic sex toys,” says Hall.

Type: Oil Ingredients: helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil*, cera alba (beeswax)*, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter)*, theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter*, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil*, aleurites moluccana (kukui) seed oil*, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) oil*, tocopherol (non-GMO)* *indicates organic Size: 3 oz



pjur’s original Back Door lubricant, which is made from silicone, is a fave among bum-bangers looking for something very long-lasting. Thankfully, for people into pegging, this anal-forward brand also has a water-based formula that is compatible with silicone dildos and other toys.

While this one is ultra-thick, any water-based lubricant generally needs to be reapplied more often than other formulas due to the fact that the body can absorb water. So, just be prepared to stop and check in with your lover(s) (or yourself) from time to time during use.

Type: Water Ingredients: water, glycerin, xanthan gum, sodium hyaluronate, benzyl alcohol, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, citric acid Size: 100 ml



PSA: CBD lubricant isn’t just for vaginal play; it’s great for anal, too. A vasodilator, CBD can help generate more blood flow wherever it is applied. So, when used anally, it can promote blood flow to the anal canal, which can help the anal sphincter muscles relax and accept whatever phallus is being inserted.

This CBD lube is a water-based formula, which means it can be used with condoms and other latex barriers. (PS: If you’re a CBD fan, you might also consider trying Foria’s new CBD-infused Booty Melts, which are suppositories designed to make butt stuff that much more blissful.)

Type: Water Ingredients: deionized water, glyceryl laurate, gluconolactone, organic cannabidiol (CBD), sodium hyaluronate, ceratonia (Locust Bean) siliqua gum, hydroxyethylcellulose, sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate, lauryl glucoside, isopropyl n-lauroyl sarcosinate, sodium benzoate, natural (organic) flavor Size: 40 ml



A little history lesson: Way before Nicki Minaj was singing about her anaconda, Broad City aired some much-needed pegging presentations, and Well+Good was publishing all sorts of content about anal play… people were having anal sex. And during that time, pleasure-seekers sought out DIY lubricants to make that play more pleasurable. And, well, one of those DIY lubricants was gun oil.

Named for this tradition, Gun Oil anal lubricant is a highly concentrated silicone-based formula that actually contains no oil at all. This flavor-free, scent-free lubricant is fortified with aloe vera and vitamin E, which can help protect and heal your anal tissues from irritation.

Type: Silicone Ingredients: cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, dimethiconol, vitamin E, aloe vera Size: 2 oz



Bodies, as they go, taste like bodies—not like flowers or candy. But if flavor fear is keeping you or your partner(s) from enjoying the pleasure potential of oral-anal play, you might consider using a flavored lubricant during analingus.

This one from Sliquid is an especially good option because it is free from irritating ingredients like glycerin, which are commonly added into flavor-based lubricants. “Glycerin can mess up your anal microbiome because it breaks down mucus membranes in the anus, which can lead to yeast infections and bacterial growth,” says Hall.

Still, if your anal canal is particularly sensitive, consider having your partner lay down a dental dam over your anal opening and squirt this apple-flavored lube on top of that.

Type: Water Ingredients: purified water, plant cellulose (from cotton), cyamopsis (guar conditioners), natural flavoring, aspartame, potassium sorbate, citric acid Size: 4 oz



The Butters Lube is an oil lubricant that feels more like a salve (think: coconut oil or Momotaro Apotheca) than a lube. Rather than pumping it onto (or into) your peach, you stick your fingers into the jar before transferring the salve to the hole and phallus. As the lubricant gel reacts to the heat from your hand and hinney, it starts to melt into a silky, long-lasting liquid.

Type: Oil Ingredients: butyrospermum Parkii (shea butter), elaeis guineensis (sustainably sourced palm) oil, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, glycine soja (soy-bean) oil, olea europaea (olive) oil, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, stearic acid, kosher salt, vitamin E, acetic acid (apple cider vinegar), potassium sorbate, potassium metabisulfate, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) Size: 4 oz



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